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Received Without Contents

I'm staring at an empty box, trying to see the 'bright side' - something Frankie Castor, the heroine of When Danger Calls does very well. When the doorbell rang yesterday, I found a box on the porch. It's holiday time, so that's not too unusual. Since I'd hurt my back, I was leery about picking it up, but it was very light. And empty. No bottom; flaps folded in. A sticker on the front said, "Received Without Contents." I looked at who sent it. My publisher. Those were undoubtedly my advance author copies of When Danger Calls. Lost. Gone. And, it was Saturday on a holiday weekend, so nobody to call. So, instead of more happy dance news, I've got an empty box.

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there IS a "bright side"!

First of all, the U.S.P.S. at least managed to deliver that empty box to the correct address- so that should restore your faith in their geographical efficiency.

What's more, that "empty" box could mean two things- both positive:

1. that someone wanted to posses a copy of your book so desperately that they even risked being caught and incarcerated in a federal prison for tampering with the mail!

2. that it was improperly packaged and fell out the box in transit-  only to somehow end up right in front of the home of a major book reviewer!


No, Terry, if you ask me, this could very well be the most auspicious thing that ever happened to you; and it is highly unbecoming of you to curse at Fate without knowing the ultimate outcome behind the Mystery of the Empty Box (which, by the way, could very well turn out to be a marvelous title for your next book!).



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Thanks, Saul.

1. Yes, they delivered the empty box, which had almost $10 in postage on it. Why not send it back to the sender so they're aware of the loss? Of course, I've already shot off an email, but somewhere between Green Bay and Orlando, there are copies of my book. 

2.  Judging from the tape, yes, the bottom was not strong enough to support the hard cover books that would have been inside.

I applaud your optimism that the books ended up in the hands of those who can enjoy them.  I shall wait to hear what the publisher says.   You and the heroine of the book would get along very well (although you'd make a terrible pairing for a novel because where's the conflict when two people have the same outlook on life?  

 I will definitely be watching as this tale unfolds. 

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Optimistic? Moi?!

Actually, I'm not an optimist at all. I was just trying to cheer you up a bit; but your keen observation regarding their failure to simply return this empty box to the sender took care of that.

O.K. then, here's what I think really happened:  that U.S.P.S. guy obviously has a relative in a far-off land who has "connections" to a Major publisher-  to whom he sent it (probably via a safe and reliable carrier like Fed-Ex or U.P.S.).

They, in turn, will probably translate your book into their own language, and promote it quite relentlessly until it achieves bestseller status. After they've sold the film rights for a hefty sum, the U.S.P.S. guy will get a cut, afterwhich he'll move on to his next victim and repeat this lucrative process, ad nauseam.

Please don't be naive enough to think that an American copyright will offer you any protection either, because any 11 year-old hacker worth his salt can make you a "non-person" in their database (as well as steal your social # and all your credit card info...).


I'm sorry to have to share such abysmal news with you, but it's for your own good (by which I mean the next time you wish to receive an important package, you should simply hop in your car and drive right to the source for hand-delivery).

As for my "getting along very well" with the  heroine in your book- well, my wife would be only too happy to supply you with a (long, long) detailed list of my shortcomings in order to refute that notion.

On second thought, you'd better drop by and pick it up in person- just in case that very same U.S.P.S. guy is working his shift again... 


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Heck, all I wanted was to

Heck, all I wanted was to hold the book!  The publisher told me they wouldn't be sending my author copies until after the Dec. 10 release date, so I wasn't expecting them. A brief moment of excited anticipation, quickly dashed. 

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possible solution to your problem?

I really do understand and sympathize with your plight Terry, for I must admit that opening the publisher's first package with my author's copy inside, and then actually holding it in my grubby hands, was the single most thrilling and intrinsically satisfying experience of my entire life (the second being the birth of my daughter, and my wedding day a distant third...).

I really wish I could think of a way to get you your book- but alas.

However, I do have a possible solution that might satisfy you as being a worthy "consolation prize":  howzabout if you buy a copy of my new book, and then simply pretend that it's a copy of your book in the wrong dust jacket?!

If you agree to purchase the hardcover version for the full retail price, I would even be willing to give you the necessary hypnotic suggestions over the phone in order to make this illusion complete.

When your own book finally arrives, I will then enable you to "snap out of it", and I..promise..not to give you any post-hypnotic suggestions to the effect that you will suddenly feel compelled to purchase copies of my book for every one of your friends and every single member of your (extended) family. Scout's honor.

Sound like a plan...?

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I am growing sleepy?

A very creative "solution."  Mine was to notify the publisher and let them know I need my books. 

 They're available for pre-order at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.  I have a couple of ARCs left, which I can fondle as the yearnings hit.

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HAH, fat chance...!

HAH, leave it to a woman to think of a simpler and decidedly more pragmatic solution!

Admittedly, my suggestion (pun intended) would  have entailed a highly complicated chain of events-   such as remote hypnotic induction via the phone coupled with a whole series of exquisitely refined suggestions in order to effect long-lasting hallucinations regarding both your perceived notion of the  appearance of the dust-jacket, and negating the variations in heft between our respective books (mine has 554 pages and tips the scales at 2.1 lbs.).

But think of how exciting it might have been to opt for my "creative" solution- how bold and adventurous you would have felt by choosing such an unorthodox and...mystical...approach to the problem, instead of just picking up your phone merely to "notify" the publisher that you needed more books.

Well Terry, fondle those ARC's until the postman delivers that new package if you must; but I daresay you'll always wonder in the back of your mind if you didn't just callously brush aside what could have been one of the most novel and exciting experiences of your entire life- simply for the sake of a more (yawn)...pragmatic...solution. I'm sorry to say that my wife would surely have made the same choice...

 P.S.  you would have undoubtedly gained plenty of new material for several (bestselling?) books as well...


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Well ...

I guess I'll just have to live with my loss this time around.  Haven't you figured out a way to hypnotize via the ethernet yet?  Have your suggestions transmitted to my computer?